‘Blank Check Approach Must End’: Dem Lawmakers Call For Conditions On Aid To Israel

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Arjun Singh Contributor
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Several Democrats in Congress have indicated in public statements that they support conditions on Israel’s use of military aid provided by the United States.

After Hamas launched a series of terrorist attacks on Israel on Oct. 7, President Joe Biden called on Congress to pass legislation to aid Israel during its military campaign. Democratic members in both the Senate and House of Representatives have indicated they want Israel to abide by certain conditions when using U.S. aid, such as the minimization of civilian casualties, according to public statements. (RELATED: House Passes Israel Aid Bill Funded By IRS Cuts)

“The blank check approach must end. The United States must make clear that while we are friends of Israel, there are conditions to that friendship and that we cannot be complicit in actions that violate international law,” Independent Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont wrote in an op-ed for The New York Times on Nov. 22.

Sanders’ conditions include “an end to indiscriminate bombing; a significant pause to bombing so that massive humanitarian assistance can come into the region; the right of displaced Gazans to return to their homes; no long-term Israeli occupation of Gaza; an end to settler violence in the West Bank and a freeze on settlement expansion; and a commitment to broad peace talks for a two-state solution in the wake of the war,” according to the article.

Democratic Sen. Chris Murphy of Connecticut also called for conditions on aid to Israel.

“I’m not sure what would be controversial about simply saying that aid we give any country has to be used in compliance with international law,” he said on CNN’s “State of the Union” on Sunday.

Some Democrats, such as Sen. Peter Welch of Vermont, have signaled openness to the idea.

“We’ve got to have the debate. You can’t have that many civilian casualties as part of the Netanyahu war plan,” Welch told Axios.

Several thousand civilians in Gaza have been killed during Israeli operations since the Oct. 7 attacks, according to The Jerusalem Post, though these figures have been heavily disputed.

In the House, Democratic Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York has indicated that she supports conditions on aid.

“Conditioning aid to Israel, as we do with virtually all other US allies, is a responsible course of action,” she wrote on Twitter, now known as X, on Nov. 18. “The United States has a legal and moral responsibility to ensure that public resources do not facilitate gross violations of human rights and international law.”

“I don’t think there’s a need for conditionality,” Sen. Ben Cardin of Maryland, the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, told  reporters, according to Politico.

The White House did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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